This is a phrase that will come into the public eye very soon, and this is honestly something I have only been made aware of recently. Col Fondo wines are something that are hotting up to be the next big thing in the sparkling wine world! Anyone with a relative knowledge of languages will know that Col Fondo literally means “with the bottom”. The word Col is actually what is called in grammar an articulated preposition. It is a combination of the preposition Con, which means within in Italian, and the definite (masculine) article il, meaning the. Fondo, from the Latin fundus, means (literally) bottom. So that’s the literal meaning. The actual meaning translates to the same thing, but it means that the sediment or lees are present in the wine.
Back to the wine…
Col Fondo is basically a sparkling wine that has been aged on its lees (essentially dead yeast cells), in most cases these days, especially with Prosecco, the lees are filtered out using certain fining methods and you are presented with a lovely clear semi-sparkling wine – but with the Col Fondo method these are the cloudy funky types – and our assortment of these is growing month on month as they become more popular with the public.
What’s the difference in flavour between Prosecco and Col fondo?
Col Fondo wines are more natural and pure, much less sweet than your average Prosecco, and unlike Champagne, there is zero disgorgement (removal of the frozen sediment/yeasts) making the wine, as mentioned earlier, cloudy and a bit more funky looking. The Col Fondo wines can sometimes be sour in taste and also on the nose, but don’t get put off by that, sour is good, it breaks down the food and leaves a lovely refreshed flavour on your palate. The Col Fondo wines are produced as a Frizzante – meaning they are a little less intense when it comes to fizz than the likes of Champagne or Prosecco – so, all in all, they are a toned down version of the two, less intense, less sweet, and overall much more enjoyable – this is the reason we have very little Champagne here at Pull The Cork. I also think it’s great for everyone to try something new – the world is constantly evolving, get involved with us and evolve with it.
You say they are great with food, so tell us some that we should be drinking, and what they match with.
Having been brought up in a foodie family, I almost always try the wines we list with food as well as on their own – it’s a crucial part of selling wine online, so here are some great examples that we are listing at the moment:
Mongarda Col Fondo (2017) is one of my recent favourites, it is an extremely food-friendly wine, as it has wonderful aromatics and a soaring acidity which really cuts down those big bold flavours! It’s the perfect accompaniment to fresh oysters the saltiness pairs perfectly with the citrus from the Col Fondo, and Bone Marrow is also a winner – the bold acidity in this wine really helps cut down the fattiness of the marrow. The Mongarda grapes are hand harvested from the oldest sites at the end of September. Soft pressing with skin contact for a few days. Static decanting for 24 hours. Fermentation in SST with pied de cuvèe. Maturation in cement tanks with batonage. Re-fermentation in the bottle with original must during spring.
Something a little different here – and don’t be put off – yes it is a sparkling red Col Fondo – Zanotto Rosso Col Fondo (2016) this is the ultimate party wine – it has very inviting aroma: violets, small red fruit, strawberries and pepper. The tannins and acidity play up lively in this unusual and unexpected wine, both harmonious and fragrant. Zanotto Rosso Col Fondo was created from a blend of hill-grown red grapes with notable acidity, and another decidedly full-bodied grape variety. The grapes are fermented together and left to macerate in stainless steel tanks for 7-10 days. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle where the lees are left to deposit.
Last but not least the Costadilà Col Fondo 280 SLM (2017) this is an incredible wine with an a recently very sad story! Costadila is a small, traditional, organic, “closed-loop” farm in the hills north of Venice. In accordance with the local tradition, their wines are only fermented in the bottle, using wild-yeasts and never adding sulphites (perfect for those with allergies). A few months ago the winemaker; Ernesto Cattel very suddenly passed away – he was the owner, winemaker and face behind Costadila, he really was the Col Fondo pioneer and organic and biodynamic advocate. The cause was an unspecified long-term illness. He was only 54 years old! His famous motto was “Let’s start at the bottom and rise up from the cloudy to see our way clear,” very much like his wines I guess! The Costadilà Col Fondo 280 SLM is an opaque yellow-orange from the long maceration on the skins and the presence of the yeasts. There is an Intense scent of ripe yellow fruits and white flowers with a mineral background. This wine is smooth, fresh and crunchy, with an elegant minerality and a pleasant bitterish length. This is perfect with seafood, and light salads. His wines are original and curious yet simply great. This is, unfortunately, the last batch in the country, until the family have found a new fully dedicated winemaker.